Gonski 2.0 - no agreement in sight

School funding wars continue with Catholic schools and opposition Labor party strongly opposing the new plan. Last week's Education Council Meeting ended with all Labor state governments and NSW also still opposing the new plan.
May 23, 2017

School funding is still being debated with the National Catholic Education Commission and opposition Labor party strongly opposing the new plan.

Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek continues to say the Government's changes would give schools $22.3 billion less than Labor would provide over the long term.  

National Catholic Education Commission acting executive director Danielle Cronin has responded to accusations that Catholic schools are not diverting allocated funds to schools who need it.

“The educational realities of schools across the country are diverse and complex and a spreadsheet generated in Canberra is only ever going to be a blunt instrument in terms of providing genuine and responsive needs-based funding at the local level,” Cronin said.

“And that is especially true when the funding formula is based on an inadequate measure of need such as the SES model, which the Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling said should be reconsidered and the review of which was required by the National Education Reform Agreement.”

Cronin believes the Government is unfairly questioning the way Catholic schools allocate funding to school communities, but says the redistribution system has served Australian students and schools well for decades.

“There has not been a clear rationale provided for why that system has to change,” she said. “We know if there are particular needs that don’t show up in funding calculations and we know better than the flawed SES model the real capacity of parents and families to pay fees in an individual community. This principle has evolved over many years and exemplifies how Catholic education has been a long-term proponent and deliverer of needs-based school funding.”

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said in an interview: "I’ve spoken to many Catholic school principals and parents and I think when they sit down and understand the details in this report and the details of our legislation they recognise that there are real benefits to what the Turnbull Government is doing."

Funding for Catholic schools grows by $1.2 billion over the next four years. There’s no reason as to why fees need increase. There’s no need in our proposal for distribution of funding amongst Catholic schools to necessarily have to change, that’s a matter for them."

Last night I was really thrilled that the Christian schools bodies gathered here in Parliament House were celebrating and positively embracing our reforms."

Last week's Education Council Meeting ended with all Labor state governments and NSW still opposing the new plan.

NT Minister for Education Eva Lawler called for a more collaborative approach between Federal and State Governments following the meeting.